U.S. News


Actress Says LAPD Mistook Her For Prostitute

Danièle Watts says police mistook her for a prostitute and briefly handcuffed her after the actress kissed her husband in a public area.
Posted at 5:33 PM, Sep 14, 2014

Newsy has published a video with updated details on this story.

A T-shirt, shorts and running shoes. That's what actress Danièle Watts was wearing when she was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car after she and her partner, Brian James Lucas, claim Watts was mistaken as a prostitute. 

"I just stood there and you guys came and grabbed me." 

You might know Watts from her roles in "Django Unchained", "Weeds" and other films and TV shows. 

The news of the incident, which took place late last week in Los Angeles, really began to pick up steam after both Watts and Lucas explained what happened via social media. 

In the posts the two explained Watts was sitting on Lucas' lap and the two were kissing when someone reportedly asked them to "stop putting on a show." 

According to their accounts, a few minutes later a police officer pulled up and asked for identification. Watts refused as she says she was doing nothing wrong. Still, she says, the officer briefly handcuffed her.  (Video via YouTube / BeLive Light)

Now, the LAPD officer supposedly never outwardly accused Watts of being a prostitute but as Lucas recounted:  

"From the questions that he asked me  ... I could tell that whoever called on us (including the officers), saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client)."

Eventually, Watts provided identification and she was let go. But as KCAL notes — Watts wasn't breaking any laws by refusing to show her ID to officers. (Video via YouTube / blackgirllonghair

"California has no law that requires people to show police their ID if they're just walking down the street. However, if the police have reasonable suspicion to stop you then they may detain you until they know who you are." 

BuzzFeed reached outto the LAPD for comment, but the department said it couldn't do so because there was no record of the incident. A spokesperson told the outlet with an on-scene detention, and with no arrest, it's not uncommon to have little to no documentation.

Unfortunately, incidents like this are not unheard of.

Netroots Nation: "How many of the women on this panel have at some point been mistaken for a prostitute on the street? ... It was 100 percent and I think that's actually a common experience."

The United Nations' first woman Under-Secretary-General, Dame Margaret Anstee, claims she was mistaken for a prostitute often enough to grow accustomed to the accusations. 

And in 2008 the parents of a 12-year-old Texas girl claimed three police officers arrested and beat her after mistaking the girl for a prostitute. 

Back to Danièle Watts' recent run in. She wrote a lengthy and emotional Facebook post about the incident, saying the experience actually enlightened her.

She wrote, "I was sitting in that back of this cop car ...Yes, they had control over my physical body, but not my emotions. My feelings. My spirit was, and still is FREE."